Box office: Bollywood pre-Diwali lull continues

Exhibitors are hoping that 'RA.One' will turn the wheel of fortune at the box office

The low phase at the box-office continues this week too, for none of the five releases opened to encouraging figures.

Although Mujhse Fraaandship Karoge saw a 50 per cent increase on Saturday and more on Sunday, it's still early to assess its performance, say trade experts.

A still from Mujhse Fraaandship Karoge

"Opening with Rs 50 lakh across India, the film earned 75 lakh on Saturday and made 92 lakh on Sunday," says trade analyst Komal Nahta.

While he conceded that the numbers aren't great, he enthused that it's one of the rare instances when a film with newcomers has picked up on good word of mouth.

About the other four releases Nagesh Kukunoor's Mod, Raghav Dhar's My Friend Pinto, Prashant Chadha's Azaan and Praveen Kumar's Jo Dooba So Paar, Nahta calls each worse than the other.

"Mod was depressing. The photography and stunts in Azaan were of high order, but that doesn't make a film. And no one from the public befriended My Friend Pinto," he says as they opened to barely 15 per cent occupancy.

Veteran distributor Ramesh Sippy attributes the lull primarily to the pre-Diwali period. "People are too busy spending on doing up their homes, watching movies is not a priority," he observes, asserting that those who do take time out expect the films to be special too.

The distributor feels that it wouldn't have been so dull if Rascals had worked. He says, "If a film released during Dussehra works, then the exhibitors can continue playing it for three weeks." He points out that exhibitors are now waiting for RA.One to bail them out.

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